Gordon Brown is to force the installation of full-body scanners at London Heathrow Airport, despite claims that the machines would not have been able to detect the substance carried by the Christmas Day bomber, who had sewn explosives into his underpants.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man who tried to blow up a transatlantic fight on December 25th 2009, is one of a number of aeroplane bombers who have precipitated an increase in security measures over the past few years.
The United States is now dangerously close to using passenger profiling to catch extremists, a screening process that is particularly harsh on people from Cuba, Iran, Syria and eleven other countries, so selected for their alleged sponsorship of Islamic ‘terror.’
Despite looking a whole lot like selective racism, US officials claim that profiling has become an unavoidable aspect of the modern world. A host of other countries, including Germany, France, Pakistan and Holland, have also upgraded security at major airports.
In the UK, the use of full-body scanners has been cleared by the government, and installation is expected to begin within the next three weeks. Costing £80,000 each, the machines will allow security teams to peek under passenger’s clothes without having to resort to the fabled strip-search.
Critics are terrified – not only are the machines incapable of catching certain kinds of explosive, but the images produced by full-body scanners contravene UK child pornography laws. They are called ‘naked scanners’ for a good reason.
The government is drafting a code of conduct for the scanners, which should stop inappropriate images being leaked out of UK airports, and into the vast gulf of the internet.